MEXICO CITY, June 9 (Reuters) - Seven shipping companies operating in Mexico have been fined for causing a rise in prices after colluding on routes in the auto transport services market, Mexico's antitrust agency COFECE said in statement on Friday.
COFECE said it had levied fines totaling about 582 million pesos ($32 million) covering nine separate agreements in force between 2009 and 2015 as the firms divided up the market amongst themselves for the transport of automobiles as well as farm and construction machinery.
"This reduced the competitive pressure and increased the costs of services provided to companies in the automotive sector," the agency said in a statement, without giving details of the alleged price spikes.
COFECE determined that the companies colluded by assigning transport routes to specific shippers between five Mexican ports and seven countries spread across the globe.
The shipping companies fined by the agency were: Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) , K Line America, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Mitsui OSK Bulk Shipping (MOBUSA), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Wallenius Wilhlmsen Logistics (WWL) . ($1 = 18.1670 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Veronica Gomez, writing by David Alire Garcia, editing by G Crosse)